Once Upon A Bride
Once Upon A Bride is the first of a series involving four friends who join forces to start a business. Second Chances, their store, caters to the woman who is marrying for the second time. I hope that the other books in the series are more interesting than this one, because not much happens here.
Jo Lyons was named Most Likely To Succeed in her high school class, and for a time she certainly did. She left West Hope, the small Massachusetts town where she grew up, moved to Boston and started a very successful PR firm. Jo won awards in her field, she was on television, she had it all – all except love. Then disaster struck. Brian Forbes came back into her life. Jo and Brian had been lovers in high school. Jo got pregnant and had an abortion. She and Brian went their separate ways, but she has always loved him. Later, Brian needed money to start up a business and Jo gave him all her savings. One evening he took her out to eat, excused himself, and never came back.
Jo needs to start over. She’s back in West Hope and has connected with her old school friends: Lily, the much married, rich ethereal sprite; Elaine, divorced and a domestic goddess; and Sarah, an unconventional jewelry artist. They decide that since Elaine is getting married again, they will start a business, Second Chances, that is devoted to the woman who is getting married the second time around.
Andrew Kennedy is a former writer turned college professor who has been asked to write a column for a men’s magazine about women from the male point of view. Andrew agrees, but is having trouble with the tone of the column. When he sees an ad for a receptionist for Second Chances, he pretends to be gay, gets the job and has a wealth of material for his column. But he begins to fall in love with Jo.
If you like books where things happen, avoid this one. However, if you are fond of soul-searching mixed with a generous portion of whining, you will love this book. I did not. Jo came across as a whiner and a snob. She continuously made or thought snide remarks about her home town, and looked down on her mother. What was her mother’s contemptible sin? Dating the butcher. Yes, Jo has been dealt a bad hand, but she has a group of supportive friends, and is at a point where she can use her skills to begin again. And at the end of the book, she is ready to do that. But I simply got tired of her whiny, snobbish self long before then.
Andrew, well…he lies all through the book. He is attracted to Jo, but the book ends with no resolution to the attraction they feel for each other. Presumably that will come in a later book in the series. Andrew’s column did not ring true at all. The magazine he writes for, Buzz, had the feel of a Maxim type men’s magazine, and while a column about women might be popular, the column that Andrew was writing probably would not be. Andrew’s column is not about how to pick up women, how to score with women, or how to be a better lover. No, Andrew’s column is about how to understand women and how they feeeeeeel. Women’s magazines are full of columns about how to understand men. Men’s magazines are full of columns about how to have great sex. Andrew’s column is supposed to be wildly popular. I don’t think so.
I was reading along and came across one line that dropped this book from a D to a D- for me and it stands out as the worst line I have read this year. While looking for a place to hold a reception, the friends see a house with a roof that “leaks like a menopausal bladder.” After that howler of a line, I put the book down and could not bring myself to read it again that day. There are a few other lines that are almost as bad, but that is the worst.
I like Women’s Fiction well enough, but I have a very low tolerance for whiners and snobs. Jo got on my last nerve, and whether she gets her happy ending in a future book, I will leave to some other reader to find out, because frankly, I don’t care.